The second floor of a Mississippi church facility collapsed Wednesday night, injuring at least 35 youth, authorities said.
None of the injuries was considered life-threatening after the floor of the Family Life Center at Freedom Baptist Church in Laurel crashed onto the gymnasium floor, said Linda Gavin, vice president of South Central Regional Medical Center.
Nineteen youths were treated and released, Gavin said. A 20th patient was airlifted to Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg with what was described as a non-life-threatening orthopedic injury. She was reported to be stable and awake.
Seventy-nine youngsters in grades seven through 12 were preparing for an evening worship service when the floor collapsed about 8:20 p.m. ET, authorities said. Jones County Sheriff Alex Hodge said the drop was about 12 feet.
Authorities were investigating the cause of the crash, which didn't appear to be weather-related. Conditions were fair weather with light winds at the time.
Gina Gentilesco and Justin Kirschner of NBC News contributed to this report.
First published February 19 2014, 8:57 PM
M. Alex Johnson
M. Alex Johnson is a senior writer for NBC News covering general news, with an emphasis on explanatory journalism and data analysis. Johnson joined NBCNews.com in January 2000 from The Washington Post, where he was news editor of washingtonpost.com and night city editor of the print edition. He has also worked at the Knight-Ridder Washington bureau, Congressional Quarterly and The Charlotte Observer, where he was part of a team that won the 1987 Pulitzer Gold Medal for Public Service. He is a member of the National Press Club, Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Online News Association.
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